Oct. 23, 2009
PULLMAN, Wash. - After the first day of the Debbie Pipher Memorial Invitational the Washington State University Crimson and Gray squads are en route to a 1-2 finish. The Crimson team leads the event with 111 points, amounting to a 37-point lead over the Gray team.
"I am just happy that the team could take some steps from last weekend's performance, come back this week to put in a great week of training and step up its performance," said WSU Head Coach Erica Quam. "I am proud of the way we responded. We brought more energy, more excitement and focused on one race at a time and that's what we need to do from this point forward."
Rugile Mileisyte leads all competitors with 18 individual points. The junior from Alytus, Lithuania set a meet record while winning the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.61. Mileisyte also touched the wall just ahead of Melissa Bogert in the 50 freestyle to win her second event of the night.
"I think Rugile did not have as much training under her belt last year at this meet. She had come off a surgery and she wasn't quite as prepared as she is now," said Quam. "The times are not really the point, but to have times that are faster than last year. She is still racing well and still going from one event one event to the other better than last weekend."
Newcomer Shelbi Luchini made her presence known as she led her Gray team with 14 individual points by earning to second-place finishes. The freshman finished second behind Taylor Whitaker in the 400 individual medley and behind Mileisyte in the 100 backstroke.
In the one individual event she competed in, senior Michaela Ahlin broke the meet record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 55.71. She also helped the Crimson team to first-place finishes in the 400 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay.
"Michaela has shown some consistency and shown veteran experience being able to put the performance in during the relay and the individual event and lead off the 800 free relay. I thought she had three solid performances today and it's exciting to see records fall also," said Quam.
Competition will resume tomorrow at noon, Saturday. This will be the first two-day meet of the Cougars' young season.
"I think we have to focus on recovery," Quam Said. "The easy thing to do is settle in when you have a good session. We need to focus on recovering, eating well and getting some good sleep tonight. We will be a little bit more tired tomorrow after a night of racing, but we are getting ready for some invitationals coming up where we have to go from one day into the next day. This will be the first time that we will get a chance to do that and carry our momentum from day one to day two."